Menu

Obesity

Obese women only get an average of 1 hour of exercise a year, study says

obesewoman_reuters.jpg

An overweight woman sits on a chair in Times Square in New York. (REUTERS/Lucas Jackson)

The average obese woman only gets one hour of exercise annually, reported Medical Daily

In a new study published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings, researchers analyzed data from a 2005-2006 government survey that included nearly 2,600 adults between ages 20 and 74. They studied participants’ weight, diet and sleeping patterns, in addition to analyzing exercise levels as measured by an accelerometer.

They concluded that the average obese woman exercised vigorously for about an hour a year. Vigorous activity was defined as an activity that burns fat, such as jogging or jumping rope. Obese men exercised for around 3.6 hours per year.

“They're living their lives from one chair to another," Edward Archer, a research fellow with the Nutrition Obesity Research Center at the University of Alabama at Birmingham told HealthDay. "We didn't realize we were that sedentary. There are some people who are vigorously active, but it's offset by the huge number of individuals who are inactive."

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends the average person exercise for 150 minutes per week at a moderate aerobic level, or 75 minutes per week at a vigorous level.

Some criticize the study’s definition of “vigorous activity” as too restrictive, arguing that intense exercise may not be safe for many obese people. However, Archer said that most obese people could benefit from any type of movement.

"People don't understand that [you] don't have to go to the gym and lift weights and run marathons to have dramatic impacts on your body,” Archer said. “Standing rather than sitting, walking rather than taking your car, they have huge impacts on your health over time."